It is an understatement that the relationship between the West and the Muslim World over the past 20 years since 9/11 can be described as tense. The US has been involved in two direct wars with Muslim majority nations since 2001 and Islamophobic sentiments have grown strong roots in American culture. On top of this, Islam, its practices, and history remain misunderstood within the US and Western World. Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion with 1.91 billion adherents, comprising 24.9 per cent of the world’s population. The continued ignorance and isolation of Muslims by the Western World, particularly by the US, would be an unwise decision and only contribute to further hostility from a significant portion of the world. In Ambassador Akbar Ahmed’s “World of Islam” class at American University, School of International Service, students are taught about the history and ideals of Islam, the importance of intercultural communication between the Western and Islamic Worlds, and how these relate to the current world and global political climate. It is a popular course and this term it was full beyond capacity. In Ambassador Ahmed’s course, students are encouraged to embrace the Socratic method, taking a different approach to analyzing history and events through active collaboration and cross-cultural dialogue. The Socratic method encourages a dialogue based on facts between the teacher and the pupil which helps clarify intellectual issues and assists learning. Through his lectures and hosting several guest speakers with knowledge and backgrounds in various core issues affecting Muslims, students of the course are offered a diverse and extensive perspective on Islam. On the afternoon of September 17th, we were happy to welcome the first honourable speaker for the Fall 2021 Semester, Mr Mowahid Shah. The continued isolation of Muslims by the Western World would only contribute to further hostility. Mowahid Shah is a Pakistani-American attorney at law, a member of the DC. Bar, the Lahore High Court Bar, and the US. Supreme Court Bar, author, as well as a former policy analyst and counsel to Senator James Abourezk and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The topics of interest for both Mr Shah and the class ranged from popular discourse on the recent American withdrawal from Afghanistan to the western exclusivity of Islam in international politics. As the first speaker of our semester, Mr Shah’s lecture excellently built on the objectives of our class in promoting intercultural and religious dialogue concerning Americans’ common misinterpretations and fears of Islam. Setting the stage during an America that is well-into the War On Terror, Mr Shah presented the class with the four distinct critical flashpoints for modern Western-Islamic tensions. First, he discussed the persisting issue of the West’s post-war failure to effectively designate a homeland for the Palestinian people. This lingering Israeli-Palestinian issue has shaken the trust of the Muslim world as issues that continue to fester in the West Bank symbolise over 75 years of Western Islamic exclusion and cultural imperialism in the East. According to Mr Shah, with no clear end in sight, the conflict not only continues to be a catalyst for poor relations between the West and Islam but will continue to be one in the foreseeable future. As the second flashpoint, the prominent lawyer and former policy analyst raised the polarising issue of Kashmir in South Asia, a region that has been disputed between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and predominantly Hindu India since the British failed to effectively settle it during Partition. The region was initially assigned to the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 to pick which new South Asian country Kashmir would cede to, as the princely state’s ruler was Hindu but his subjects largely Muslim. Since then, multiple wars have been fought over the valley, not to mention the countless border skirmishes that continue to plague the line of control. Today such border disputes only reinstigate fears of the very real threat of nuclear war. The third underlying cause for Western-Islamic tension that Mr Shah emphasised was the Muslim world’s repeated (at times legitimate) speculation of American and Western backing of corrupt elites and leaders within the Islamic World. And it does not help that Islamic caution of Western-backed leaders has proved entirely valid at times, as evidenced by the American coup that instated corrupt authoritarian leaders like Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1953 Iran or even more recently in Afghanistan’s own Ashraf Ghani. Historical events like Western-backed coups or overt pushes for influence in the Muslim world in the post-war era would certainly prove to slowly deteriorate the West’s relationship with Islam. Even worse than just supporting these elites, the US has gone to extreme lengths, overthrowing democratically elected officials to put their corrupt elites in power. The backing of these tyrants in the Islamic World has reinvigorated pre-existing sentiments of Islamic nationalism and western-disdain that have led to the radicalization of many young Muslims. The final and most critical flashpoint argued by Mr Shah is the status of representation for the Islamic world, specifically Muslim majority nation-states in Western-dominated international institutions. The first international organisation where this is evident is the UN. Currently, no Islamic nation constitutes one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, even though Islam makes up just under one-fourth of the world’s population. Mr Shah even goes as far as to argue that the Muslim world struggles to respect the intrinsic authenticity and loyalty of such institutions that are frequently viewed as being made by and for the West. Another example of an Islamic nation being excluded is Turkey, a pivotal member of NATO and a democratic government. Turkey has attempted to join the European Union since 1987 but has been continuously rejected, leading to the suspension that the rejection is over their religious beliefs. The exclusion of Turkey has led to them conducting hostile relations with other NATO members and strengthening ties with Russia. As scholars learning about this strained history between the West and Muslim world, we examine these issues through the lenses of a post-9/11 America. An America, that even two decades later, still unjustly categorises the nearly two billion practitioners of Islam to be at war with the fundamental freedoms of the US. The promotion of perspectives from intellectuals like Mowahid Shah who grow up in and understand the Muslim world is imperative in fighting the propagated ignorance of the past. These dilemmas are oriented in critical geopolitical conflicts including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and India-Pakistan’s Kashmir dispute, whereas the lack of progress can be attributed to the deficient political representation in international governing bodies. The Muslim World among many of the non-western powers has developed distrust for the West for its historical meddling and various subjugations during the colonial period. These troubled histories elicit memories of violence and conflict for Muslims everywhere, underlying the foundation for the lasting tensions between Islam and the West today. Mr Shah’s opening talk in the course set a high standard and we were off to a great start and learning experience. Nishad Karulkar and Evan Kilmer are students at American University, DC.